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Recently Tested. Need Clarification
Sep 6, 2003

Dr. Holodniy, I tested pos 7/12/03. 8/14 had counts taken. CD4 is 1230, and VL is 56,000. Had a cold when tests were taken. Rarely sick except for a seasonal cold. Dr. wants to put me on meds and feels that I've been recently infected. Another Dr. disagree's and doesn't feel that HAART will benefit me at this time. I know my CD4's are very good at 1230, but what does the high VL mean? Could it be due to the cold? Or have I been recently exposed? (oral encounter 2 weeks prior to testing pos). I'm getting mixed information.

Thank you,

E

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Your viral load is in the moderate range. Over 100,000 is considered high. Indeed other ongoing infections and immunizations can transiently increase viral load. Starting treatment during acute infection or early chronic infection is still controversial. The benefits of preserving the immune system must be weighed with the long term toxicities or side effects of life long HIV medication. The current guidelines suggest starting treatment if the CD4 count is < 350 and/or the viral load is > 50,000. Most experts would probably suggest deferring treatment.



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